Nanomedicine When?

The world of nanotechnology research can be broadly - and crudely - divided into "wet" and "dry" areas. Dry nanotechnology focuses on manufacturing methods, while wet nanotechnology has to do with medicine - everything from improved diagnostics to artificial blood cells. (I've mentioned nanomedicine before here on Fight Aging!)

When do we expect to see nanotechnology taking off? The folks at the Center for Responsible Nanotechnology keep their finger on the pulse and are of the opinion that a major initiative could produce the first essential components for a molecular manufacturing industry (dry nanotechnology) in five years. Since that seems unlikely to come to pass, the 11 year estimate from the NNI is more realistic, although still optimistic in my eyes. Nanotechnology is far further along than anti-aging research, but it is still subject to the same real world constraints that determine how fast you can bring technology to the marketplace.

The conventional wisdom is that the futuristic-sounding plans laid out in works like Nanomedicine by Robert Freitas will become commercially available after dry nanotechnology is established. Twenty to thirty years seems reasonable, assuming that suitable funding is put into research between now and then.

Early diagnostic advances due to improved nanoscale manufacturing (not the same as molecular manufacturing) for silicon chips and small mechanical or fluid flow devices are already arriving, and will continue over the next five years.


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